Tiz the Law’s jockey Manuel “Manny” Franco headed into the Belmont hoping for a victory as he took the saddle on the favorite horse. Franco has plenty of experience with 1,357 wins in 9,435 starts over his career, per America’s Best Racing.
Since becoming a professional jockey in 2015, Franco has earned $84.86 million which equates to $8,995 per race. He has topped $16 million in annual earnings for two straight years, per NYRA.com. The jockey was expected to head into the Kentucky Derby riding the favorite but COVID-19 impacted the Triple Crown schedule.
Instead, Tiz the Law enters the Belmont as the favorite and a win would once again make him the horse to beat heading into the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Barclay Tagg feels confident with Franco on the saddle.
“I like Manny. He’s athletic, he’s young, he’s smart,” Tagg explained to US Racing. “I don’t think he has any fear in him or anything like that. He goes in and does the best he can do. I think he’s a fine rider.”
Franco understands that Tiz the Law is providing him with a career opportunity.
“Every jockey wants to be me right now,” Franco explained to Albany Times Union’s Tim Wilkin. “I am so happy to have this opportunity. I have confidence in the horse and me, too. We have to get it done.”
Franco Is Originally From Puerto Rico
According to NYRA.com, Franco grew up in Carolina, Puerto Rico and was introduced to the sport by attending races with his father. Franco is listed at 5’1″ and 112 pounds making him a great size for a jockey. After one of the Belmont practice runs, Franco explained to Blood Horse what it is like to ride Tiz the Law.
“But I knew I can’t do much, move much, because I move on him and he’s going to take off,” Franco noted. “I just let him be comfortable and happy because I know that he is going to do the work.”
Franco Halted Racing After the Florida Derby as a Response to COVID-19
Franco stopped his racing schedule after the Florida Derby in March as a response to COVID-19. It was a significant decision given the number of races jockeys normally enter in a given year.
To put it in perspective, Franco has raced in more than 9,000 contests since beginning his career in 2015. Franco opted to spend time with his girlfriend and daughter before heading back to the track for the Belmont.
“I spoke to my agent (Angel Cordero Jr.) and said that after the Florida Derby, I will stay home with my girlfriend and (2-year-old) daughter until New York opens again for racing,” Franco explained to Blood Horse in April. “I don’t want to put pressure on them by being away. …I’m hoping everything goes back to normal soon, and we’ll see where he takes me. He came out of the Florida Derby well, and we’ll see what’s next. That was an impressive performance. I’m really happy he came back and ran like that. I have confidence in him. I love that horse, and we get along well together. He has a lot of talent.”